A hacker who first exposed the existence of Hillary Clinton’s private email server and who found his way into accounts of several American political figures pleaded guilty to identity theft and hacking charges today.
Marcel Lehel Lazar, who went by the name Guccifer, pleaded guilty to the two charges as part of an agreement with prosecutors to dismiss the other charges against him. Lazar, who was brought to the U.S. from Romania in March to stand trial, had been facing additional charges of wire fraud, unauthorized access to protected computers, cyberstalking and obstruction of justice. His sentencing is set for September.
Lazar leaked emails from former Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal to the media, revealing the existence of the “clintonemail” address at the center of her ongoing email controversy. While in custody, Lazar claimed that he hacked Clinton’s email server, saying that it was “completely unsecured.” The Clinton campaign denied his claims, calling it “unfathomable” that Lazar would have resisted leaking Clinton’s emails if he had indeed accessed them. Lazar produced no documentation to back up his claims.
Lazar also made headlines in 2013 when he hacked an email account belonging to a member of the Bush family and sent photos of George W. Bush’s paintings to media outlets.
Another one of his high-profile targets was Colin Powell. Lazar got access to the former Secretary of State’s email and Facebook accounts, and, although the indictment against Lazar doesn’t mention Powell by name, it appears the identity theft charge he pleaded guilty to is related to his hacks of Powell.